Seven consecutive rising sessions on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX), starting on June 28, led the market’s general index above the 5,000-point mark on Friday, closing at 5,001.26 points from 4,843.78 points the previous Friday, a weekly rise of 3.25 percent. Bolstered by blue chips, the index has returned to levels unseen since more than seven years ago, with the investing climate remaining optimistic. This is thanks to the expectations created by the business moves in key sectors such as telecommunications, energy, construction, metals and commerce. Blue chips were boosted by news such as the increase of the share capital of Piraeus Bank, following that by Eurobank the previous week, the statements by OTE’s chief on the company’s future, the economy minister’s presentation of two bills and the huge demand for the shares of Aegean Airlines upon its listing on the Athens Exchange. Stockbrokers believe that share prices these days are affected by the following factors: Developments in international markets, including the emerging ones; the positive expectations from the rise seen in company profits; the favorable macroeconomic environment and political developments; the foreign capital inflow; the privatizations and share capital increases; the strengthening of Greek companies’ position in Eastern Europe, and the mergers and acquisitions, or sector consolidation. Key stocks such as those of National Bank, Public Power Corporation, Piraeus Bank and Eurobank are close to historic highs, while that of Hellenic Exchanges, which owns the stock market, is breaking one record after another. Analysts stress that once the 5,000-point mark is secured, it is only a matter of time before it reaches 5,200 points.